Bank Owned Arizona Estate

This desert estate was built by R.S. Homes and designed by celebrated architect Lee Hutchinson of Urban Design Associates. Awarded the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona’s 2005 Custom Home of The Year, this organic, 6,800 sq ft livable and 11,183 sq ft under roof, pueblo style home with a contemporary southwestern flair is a magnificent example of pure elegance, comfort and is a veritable entertainers resort. Combining the finest craftsmanship and brimming with native Arizonan appeal, this estate has countless custom interior design features and upgrades; massive vigas beams, granite counter tops, cabinetry by Kieseler enterprises, Viking/Dacor/GE appliances, 10 fireplaces with custom artistry, innumerable ceiling treatments, lutron and crestron lighting/sound systems.

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UK Inflation Rises and How They Affect Property Investors

Yesterday, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported yet another rise in inflation, up 0.4 %inflation and property investors from the previous month taking the figure to 4.4% and it’s unlikely that things will stop there. Andrew Sentence from the Bank of England advised that inflation “could easily rise above 5 per cent later this year”. So how do inflation rises affect property investors? Is this something we should be concerned about?

It really depends on how much actual cash you have to play with and whether you can afford the squeeze on your finances that an inflation rise implies. When inflation rises it means that the cost of living is higher – your food, utility, clothing and petrol costs are elevated, but it’s not only these daily necessities that are costing more. One of the main reasons that inflation is rising is because of the increase in VAT from 17.5% to 20%, which means that all the goods and services you buy when developing a property to sell on will cost you more.

From surveyors, plumbers, electricians and solicitors to paint, flooring and curtains will all cost 2.5% more than they did previously, if not more (when petrol prices go up goods and services tend to increase in price as well). Now that doesn’t sound a lot, but on a budget of £25k for a property upgrade including fees, where previously £4,375 of that amount would have been VAT it has now risen to £5,000. If you have several properties, the increase in costs for goods and services both from VAT rises and retailers putting up prices will be felt more sharply.

Add to that the high likelihood that inflation increases will lead to an increase in mortgage rates and you can see how your profit margin gets squeezed from all directions. David Kern, Chief Economist at the BCC, said, “It is likely that the MPC will look to restore its credibility and so we can expect interest rates to be raised in the next few months.”

So going back to the original question of how inflation rises affect property investors, we can see that if you have enough cash flow to pay more than you’re used to for goods and services and you can afford a % increase in your mortgage interest rates you will probably fair ok, though with lower profit margins. You will be able to claim these costs back in expenses when you come to filing your Tax Form. The difficulty is that you need to be able to swallow those costs for at least a year until you can claim the amounts back against your earnings.

So ultimately, the healthier your cash flow the better you will be able to manage inflation rises.

Two other important factors to consider when working out a properties’ investment potential and how inflation rises will affect you are factoring in rising rental incomes if you’re investing for buy to let and of course in the first instance, buying property as cheaply as you can.

Thinking of Buying Repossessed Houses? Guzumping is Par for the Course

According to a recent article by the Financial Times, many buyers putting in offers on repossessedgazumping on repossessed houses houses which have been accepted are finding themselves being gazumped by banks and estate agents. The FT makes a bit of a fuss about it but to be honest I don’t think this practice is anything new or something to be overly concerned about.

Bank owned properties marketed by estate agents or auction houses have to, by law, publish offer notices in a local or national newspaper. This gives other potential buyers the option to put in a higher bid (which the bank can accept or not, but why wouldn’t they?) and for the bank to recoup more of the debt owed to them. For the banks and the person who has had their home repossessed, getting the highest possible sale value that they can is a good move. This is especially true for repossessions where there is negative equity in the property.

Imagine how you would feel if your home was repossessed and you knew that the bank had taken a low offer, despite having higher offers on the table, leaving you with more of a debt to the bank than was necessary? Even if there is positive equity in the property the previous owner has the right to expect the highest price it can achieve. Most repossessed homes sell for a good 20 – 30% less than the market value anyway, so having to pay a few thousand pounds more is not going to damage your profit margin too badly.

So while we can all agree that the practice of gazumping on repossessed houses and flats may be inconvenient to the potential buyer (who is in many cases a property investor looking for the cheapest houses s/he can find), it’s par for the course and not something we should be griping about. It’s just a case of pulling our socks up and either putting in a higher offer (which is still probably much less than the market value anyway), or cutting our losses and walking away.

2011 – A Good Time to Invest In Property?

As we move further into 2011 and the country moves tentatively out of recession, we askinvest in property buy to let ourselves whether it’s a good time for the novice/beginner to invest in property. Despite uncertain predictions for the UK property market in 2011, with some analysts predicting a small increase in house prices and others anticipating either a minor slide or no move at all, there is positive news to be found for those thinking about putting their money into property.

Recently the Financial Times reported that Buy-to-Let mortgage deals have never been better. With a few lenders raising Loan to Value (LTV) amounts to the highest levels since the start of the recession, (Kensington Mortgages are offering up to 85% on rental yields over 6.1%); many established banks entering the Buy-to-Let mortgage arena (creating more competition for your business and therefore lowering interest rates) and Buy-to-Let mortgage rates still very competitive, finding one or more cheap houses for sale, upgrading them and becoming a landlord for the increasing numbers of people wanting rental properties, is looking a far more attractive option than it has done over the last 3 years.

If you have enough cash in the bank for a healthy mortgage deposit (15% +, ideally 20% or more), can buy property cheaply through house auctions and have found a location where rental properties are in demand then I think it’s really a no brainer. Savills, one the UK’s largest auction houses see its’ category C properties having the potential for the most stable return over the next 5 years. They say,

“For investors looking to build portfolios with strong income streams that will be attractive to future investors, the strategy of buying good Grade C letting properties with low capital values looks sound.”

In essence what Savills is saying is that rental prices are increasing, mainly due to the fact that less first time buyers are able to get on the property ladder; the demand for rental properties is higher than ever and properties in less than prime locations and/or condition, which tend to command lower rents, are attractive to those renters taking a hit caused by higher inflation. Savills anticipate a return of 30% over the next 5 years if their predictions are correct.

So whether you would describe the current housing market as stable or stagnant, property is still a viable investment opportunity for those looking for long term returns and 2011 may just be a good time to take the leap.

Want to Buy Cheap Houses for Buy to Let? Essex is a Prime Location

Essex is a Prime Location to Buy Cheap Houses for Buy to Let cheap houses essex towns

Nestled to the North and East of London, with excellent travel links into the city and many towns and villages just a stones throw from Stansted Airport, Essex offers an attractive range of cheap houses and flats for sale perfect for the buy to let market.

With low buy to let mortgage rates currently on offer, a constant increase in demand for rental properties in the county, combined with stagnant house prices, it’s a prime time to purchase one or more buy to let investment properties in Essex.

Who Can I Rent To? USP’s for the Buy to Let Market in Essex

While families and couples make up most of those seeking rental properties in Essex, there are other client groups that you should be aware of if you’re looking for lucrative property investments in Essex.

Below you’ll find each rental market group explained and further down the page, property prices on 2 bedroom flats and 3 bedroom houses in many of the major towns in Essex, as well as what you can expect in terms of rental income.

Families, Singles & Couples Unable to Get Social Housing

Demand for one, two and three bedroom flats and houses for rent in Essex is constantly on the rise. This is mainly due to the reduction in council and housing association provision available. Some Essex renters are looking for landlords that will accept DSS payments (so this may be a profitable area for you to consider), while the large majority are working people who either cannot afford to buy or cannot get the amount needed for a house deposit.

There are also opportunities for property investors to rent out their buy to let properties to housing associations (look up East Thames), many of whom will pay you a guaranteed monthly rent, regardless of whether the property is let or not.

Londoners Who Want More for Their Money

Even with an average yearly all zone rail ticket costing in the region of £3 – 4k many Londoners have worked out that they are much better off financially living in Essex than they are in London, and not simply because of lower rents and house prices. They also benefit from lower costs for other things (pub prices, cinema tickets, gym membership and energy bills to name a few) as well as much more in the way of green spaces and a good deal less crime.

Popular Commuting Towns in Essex

  • Harlow – Mainline Rail into London Liverpool St– 30 mins Journey Time
  • Basildon – Mainline Rail into Fenchurch St – 35 mins Journey Time
  • Chelmsford – Mainline Rail into London Liverpool St – 35 mins Journey Time
  • Grays – Mainline Rail into Fenchurch St – 35 mins Journey Time
  • Epping – Central Line Tube into Liverpool St – 33 mins Journey Time

Londoners Retiring to the Countryside

Retirees are more likely to buy than rent in Essex and they tend to want to relocate to the seaside towns such as Frinton or Clacton, the picturesque villages or small town locations. Saying that, many retirees will rent for a period of time before they decide to buy to get a feel for an area, so there are opportunities in the buy to let market catering to this client group.

Another point for the property investor to be aware of is that the older generation will, more often than not, want to buy a house that is ready to move into. So if you buy a cheap repossessed house, bungalow or ground floor flat in the right location, ensure that it is decorated to a high standard and is adapted towards the older persons needs, you can expect a very healthy profit.

Stansted Airport Workers

Stansted Airport and the businesses contained within it, employ thousands of workers both skilled and unskilled. From baggage handlers and fast food operatives to pilots and PR executives, Stansted is a major employer in Essex and the surrounding areas, and each employee needs somewhere to live.

For those looking at investing in higher end properties, targeting Stansted employees who come with high incomes and who are looking for something special, such as detached period cottages, the villages in west and central Essex such as Dunmow, Thaxted, Takely and Elsenham are good locations due to their proximity to Stansted airport.

If you prefer to target the lower earners, then towns such as Harlow and Bishops Stortford (which is actually in Herts), are excellent places to purchase buy to let properties.


Essex is not awash with centres of higher learning, but there are 3 main universities located in Colchester, Southend, Chelmsford and Writtle (nr Chelmsford) and catering to their needs is one option for those in the buy to let market.

  • University of Essex – Colchester & Southend Campuses
  • Anglia Ruskin University – Chelmsford,
  • Writtle Agricultural College – Nr Chelmsford

Hospital Workers

There are 26 main hospitals in Essex with many of their workers requiring both short and long term rental properties close to their place of work.

House Prices and Average Rental Incomes in Essex Towns

So let’s take a look at how cheaply you can buy 2 and 3 bedroom properties in the major towns in Essex and the potential rental incomes for each.

Note* The property prices listed here are not the average house prices you’ll find on sites like and similar websites, these are the prices you can expect to pay if you’re buying repossessed houses or properties that needing updating through house auctions or estate agents.

(Prices Correct as of March 2011)


2 bed flats from £85,000

Monthly Rental Income = £650 – £725

3 bed houses from £115,000

Monthly Rental Income = £750 – £900



2 bed flats from £70,000

Monthly Rental Price £625 – £725

3 bed houses from £110,000

Monthly Rental Income £750 – £1,000



2 bed flats from £80,000

Monthly Rental income £475 – £600

3 bed houses from £120,000

Monthly Rental income £670 – £900



2 bed flats from £105,000

Monthly Rental income £595 – £750

3 bed houses from £143,000

Monthly Rental income £700 – £950



2 bed flats from £75,000

Monthly Rental income £500 – £695

3 bed houses from £120,000

Monthly Rental income £695 – £900



2 bed flats from £75,000

Monthly Rental income £550 – £750

3 bed houses from £125,000

Monthly Rental income £690 – £900



2 bed flats from £80,000

Monthly Rental income £650 – £800

3 bed houses from £110,000

Monthly Rental income £750 – £1,000



2 bed flats from £50,000

Monthly Rental income £400 – £575

3 bed houses from £80,000

Monthly Rental income £470 – £700



2 bed flats from £100,000

Monthly Rental income £525 – £695

3 bed houses from £115,000

Monthly Rental income £675 – £1,000



2 bed flats from £190,000

Monthly Rental income £750 – £2,000

3 bed houses from £240,000

Monthly Rental income £1,000 – £1,700



2 bed flats from £105,000

Monthly Rental income £650 – £1,200

3 bed houses from £130,000

Monthly Rental income £850 – £1,500



2 bed flats from £95,000

Monthly Rental income £650 – £1,100

3 bed houses from £180,000

Monthly Rental income £900 – £1,500


As you can see from the information above, there are plenty of buy to let opportunities in Essex catering to a wide variety of potential renters. If you’re clever about where you choose to invest your money, you can target several client groups at once e.g. Harlow is well placed to attract Stansted workers, hospital workers, London commuters and families. As well as ensuring you buy your properties at a good price, all you need to do as a property investor is ensure that you advertise your rental properties in the right places to target each of these groups of people.